Samuel Gawith Black XX Twist (Rope)

For over 200 years, Samuel Gawith & Co. have been producing fine pipe tobaccos that have been enjoyed by all walks of life the world over. In the mountainous Lake District of Cumbria, the generations of Gawiths have been hand cutting, stripping and blending their tobaccos. For over two centuries, the blenders and spinners of Samuel Gawith, Kendal, have been producing the famous Kendal Twists. Coal miners, both underground and on the ground, have been chewing our Pigtails, whilst pipe smokers have savoured the rich flavours and slow burning characteristics of the thick Brown No.4 and Black XX. All of our twist tobaccos can be smoked either flavoured or un-flavoured. Some of our popular flavours are black cherry, rum, whiskey and apple. All twists are available pre-packed or on the roll. Because the process is almost entirely by hand, quality control ensures consistency of excellence.
Notes: Categories refer to the thickness and colour of the twist. The Brown No.4 does not undergo any heat treatment and has full tar and nicotine content of the tobacco. The Brown No.4 is a thick twist. The Black XX is an extra thick twist. The Black XX under goes heat treatment that creates the black colour and less tar and nicotine than the Brown No. 4. All Samuel Gawith Twists are unsliced.


Brand Samuel Gawith
Blended By Samuel Gawith
Manufactured By Samuel Gawith
Blend Type Straight Virginia
Contents Virginia
Cut Rope
Packaging 50 grams tin, bulk
Country United Kingdom
Production Currently available


Very Strong
Extremely Mild -> Overwhelming
None Detected
None Detected -> Extra Strong
Room Note
Unnoticeable -> Overwhelming
Extremely Mild (Flat) -> Overwhelming

Average Rating

2.95 / 4





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Displaying 21 - 30 of 157 Reviews
Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Feb 13, 2017 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable
I love ropes. They are strong yes but that can be a good thing from time to time. I see a lot of comments about the difficulty for preparing ropes. So here is how I do it. Get an old or just a cheap cigar cutter and cut off the size you want. I like mine in a fine ribbon not quite a proper shag cut. The cigar cutter works wonders and takes no time to prepare. Once cut, simply rub it out and give it about 10-15 min. of drying time, no more than that. As far as the debate on which has more tar/nic between this and Brown Rope no. 4, for me it is the brown. The cigar cutter has to be cleaned about every 1/2 and oz. because of the tar in Brown. Black on the other hand cut the full 50 gr. without needing to be cleaned. Nic. being what it is is subjective and effects us all a little differently but for me the Brown has more. As far as the flavors go, there are some differences too. Black has stronger earthy, floral VA flavors, some dried dark fruit (which is different than the Brown for me having more of a toasted grain sweetness), a bit of spice, and the creaminess I find in Brown remains. I do get that smoked meat flavor from time to time (it reminds me more like the smell of Jack Links original beef jerky) but it is not all the time. Keep the smoke low and slow and don't try to get large plums of smoke or it will loose all these great flavors. All that said, I do prefer the Brown over this one and since they are the same tobacco I have rated this as recommended. It should be tried by anyone looking for a strong, full flavored smoke who can handle a good amount of nic.
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
May 19, 2014 Overwhelming None Detected Overwhelming Overwhelming
EDIT: I had put this under Brown Rope by accident. No wonder - it made me me so goofy every time I smoked it that I got lost.

I have great respect for Gawith as a result of Skiff, SL, Best Brn, FVa Flake, etc. I do not appreciate tonquin, howerver. I generally love a good Va, but this? It really does smell just like an empty BBQ heating up. It indeed does taste meaty. If I want to taste meat, I will eat rather than smoke a pipe! Smoked straight, I would rate it minus four stars. I found it awful. I mixed it with some PA, as suggested below, & it ruined the PA. It remained harsh even mixed with straight McC Oriental.

HOWEVER: I am no blender, but on about the sixth try, I came up with Solani 633, McC Oriental, & BR #4 in equal proportions. To my surprise, It made a REALLY good smoke - a solid 3 star performer. I will finish the tin that way and will not buy more, as I have a tin of the Black to wade through. Next surprise: it was pretty good mixed 1/3 in Sail regular. I may do more of this & report back. RIR

UPDATE 8/16/15: Not one to give up, I just cut a 5/8" slice off this after a year & a quarter in the humidor. It broke down pretty easily into sheets of twisted leaf that I mixed with 1/3 volume of P&C's blending perique. Put into an old large-bowled Pioneer Calabash and that seems to have found it a home. Very spicy, no bite and a pretty decent albeit VERY strong VaPer flavor. Tames down soon to a full Va flavor with just a nice hint of the Perique staying around the edges. Upgrade to 2 stars on that basis.
Pipe Used: meer, cob, briar, clay, CALABASH
PurchasedFrom: Gift
Age When Smoked: 1 year & 2 1/4 yrs
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Mar 21, 2009 Very Strong Extremely Mild Extra Full Extra Strong
I have always liked to experiment with the extremes of aesthetic experience, so when I heard of this tobacco, and read the reviews, it was only a matter of time until I had to try it.

I don't know what to make of this one. Clearly it's a top-quality leaf that provides a unique and fascinating smoke. There's something primeval about this one, something of the excremental -- no, sorry -- elemental terra. It's easy for me to see how one can either fall in love with it or detest it; conversely I don't see how anyone can be neutral or indifferent to it.

Make no mistake -- this is an in-your-face tobacco. It's got strength all right, as everyone here attests. And it's got flavor, that's for sure, but it's one that I can't quite put my finger on; it's a flavor that is, weirdly, simultaneously alluring and repellent, much like scotch to the unacclimated. It smokes very strong, warm, and bone-dry, with an odd smoky dark sweetness hovering in the foreground, though the smokiness is very unlike the smooth full smokiness of latakia: this smokiness is raw and rough around the edges and sulfitic, like burning flowers with a hint of coal cased licorice, or maybe it's licorice cased coal.

I do have a problem keeping this lit, even though I cut off coins with a cigar slicer and rub them out into shaggy ribbons. But when it eventually burns to the bottom it leaves a fine white ash like talcum powder.

Black XX Rope is the tobacco equivalent of the blackest porter you can imagine, or the muddy sediment of turkish coffee, or grain alcohol with a touch of ouzo in it. If you like the smell of freshly laid asphalt -- which I do -- you'll probably like this.

I expect I'll be getting to know this strange, intense tobacco more intimately since it's such an intriguing flavor, one I find difficult to resist, like a vamp I'm drawn to against my better judgment. Indeed I find myself reaching for it on an almost daily basis. I wouldn't be surprised if I increase my rating of this to four stars in the future, as this smoke just gets better and better the more I get to know it.

Recommended for those who aren't afraid to peer into the abyss.

UPDATE 10/16/10: I've been smoking this now for almost two years, and I still find it hard to keep lit. But it's worth the effort. I don't smoke it regularly, but every once in a while I just need to have it. It's flavor is like none-other. I think the most accurate description I came across recently was "burnt machine oil," which apparently is a flavor I like. (Though I still say it tastes to me like burning soapy flowers with a hint of ouzo.) It's one of those unique flavors I find to straddle the line between repellent and enticing, and it's uniquely satisfying when I crave it. It's not in my rotation, but I always keep some around when I need to satisfy some masochistic itch.

UPDATE 04/13/15: A few years later, and I still feel the need to scratch an itch only Black XX satisfies, moreso now that some villain at SG removed my beloved Bracken Flake from their inventory. And I still find it both alluring & repellant, though now more the former than the latter. And I finally found a way to keep it lit quite nicely, even right out of the tin (I definitely prefer it moist -- the flavors are really alive when it has some moisture to it): I cut the coins very thin, rub and tear them apart into a loose shag, pack lightly, and tamp until it's a bit springy. Yes, I've grown very fond of this strong, vile, yet delicious turd. The more I get to know it, the more impressed I am by its remarkable depth, nuance, and unique, sulphitic sweetness.

UPDATE 04/16/16: I seem to have smoked more tins of this than any other since SG has decommissioned my beloved Bracken Flake, even though I still have an ambivalent relationship with Black XX: it's still both repellent and alluring to me. Every so often I smoke a bowl of this that is perfect, but it requires a very slow rhythm and real concentration. But more than anything, I've discovered that the moisture level needs to be just right to make the bowl successful: it requires some moisture for the flavors to come through, but too moist and it's impossible to keep lit; too dry, and the taste becomes too harsh. (Indeed getting the moisture level right seems as difficult as cutting fugu safely...) But every once in a while, when the moisture level is just right, it's an immensely satisfying smoke: it stays lit easily, and the flavor is a thing of dark and dangerous beauty... which I suppose is the reason I keep coming back to it, I want to hit that elusive bullseye which just hurts so good when I do...
5 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jul 15, 2009 Strong Strong Full Very Strong
1 star because it's SG, 1 star because it's strong. That's it. I love 1792 and Brown No.4...but this one goes too way out there for me. I get burnt Peking duck, burnt pop-corn, burnt toffee, soya sauce with a hint of mint....and yep, it tastes rough...You just have to try this once, just to know that 1792 is an easy blend to smoke.
4 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Oct 21, 2022 Strong Medium Medium Tolerable
I buy myself a hunk of xx on a monthly basis. I get mine loose so no tin note. I've found the best way to prep this tobacco is to finely slice it off with a Stanley blade and allow it to dry once it's been rubbed out. I leave it for at least 2 hours spread out on my tobacco tray then pop it in a tin and next day it's perfect for a smoke. I find this blend to be perfect match for a morning coffee. I get sour notes and a biscuits/bready flavour. Towards the end of the bowl it gets a horse manure smell and flavour which I find quite nice. It does pack quite a punch with nicotine however it's not quite as spicy as Brown twist.
Pipe Used: Hardcastles jockey club
Age When Smoked: 2 week in a jar
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 09, 2022 Strong None Detected Full Tolerable to Strong
Black XX rope is far more complex than other reviewers give it credit, and it is far finer a tobacco than even the name and packaging suggest. The tin note, at first, is indeed akin to burnt brisket ends or smoked meat. Give this rope a few brief months to rest and suddenly it reveals an interesting, sweet bouquet of prunes, smoke, and earth.

My ritual is such: I cut the rope into thin-ish coins and carefully rub and unravel them. This yields long, lovely strands of deeply sweet, smokey, beautiful ribbons. Usually by the time I am done with that, the tobacco has dried enough to feel a little crinkly, like the fake grass in an Easter basket. After this step, I pack and light my pipe as usual. Smoked consciously, I am rewarded with deep notes of dried stone fruits, earth, and damp Autumn leaves. The tobacco requires frequent relights, and I like to contemplate in between lights to facilitate cooling and to keep the flavor. Only when pressed do I get the smoked meat flavors that are so commonly commented on. The smoke is very smooth and velvety, if one takes their time; in fact, this tobacco demands that one slow down even more than is typical in our hobby.

The main problem with this blend is the same as many blends with the Gawith name on them—it’s difficult to get in the U.S. This, combined with the many deliberate steps it takes to prepare the leaf, makes me question whether the juice is worth the squeeze, so to speak. For me, Black XX is only an occasional treat because of its simultaneously temperamental and meditative nature. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a try if you can find some, but search elsewhere for the all day, every day mixture. Even those searching for a strong blend—and Black XX is very potent in the Vitamin N department—would be better served with some other commonly available tobacco.

As an aside, it is indeed a good chew, but I am loathe to waste this masterpiece of tobacco on such endeavors.
Pipe Used: Clay and briar of various makes
PurchasedFrom: Smoking Pipes
Age When Smoked: Fresh and about 3 months
3 people found this review helpful.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Sep 12, 2020 Medium to Strong Strong Full Strong
There's not a lot of difference between any of the SG and GH black ropes and twists. Different degrees of heat treatment, different thickness, slightly different methods of assembly. The end result is pretty much the same. I suspect any variation in the burn-ability of each type of rope depends more on how long it was in the supply chain before it finally ended up in the bowl than any other factor.

They all have the same coal tar or diesel oil aroma that overpowers just about any other tobacco aroma that might be there, unless you are some kind of super smeller. (There are 142 reviews of the baccy at the time of writing, and a word search shows 80 references to oil. And most of them reference motor oil or similar.)

They are all on the potent side nicotine wise.

Honestly, I'm not a fan. So why have I bought so many black ropes you might ask. Because chewing tobacco is on the small list of tobacco types that there is no impediment to me importing into Australia under the new ridiculous laws. I'm hoping eventually to find something I can live with. But it won't be this. Or any of the other black ropes.

(I have marked flavouring as 'strong' even tho I don't know whether it is a result of additives or just a peculiarity of the manufacturing process.)
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jun 21, 2020 Overwhelming None Detected Extra Full Extra Strong
I was given this to try as a gift from a fellow pipe club member. If your going to try this, make sure you have some time and are sitting down and have ate something recently. This is English history your about to smoke, and you will not soon forget your lesson. If your a big Nicotine fan, love the most (and I mean MOST) strongest tobacco I myself have ever encountered, this is it folks. (I’m 60 and not a newbie) Note: This sites reviews in regards to this blend are the best ANYWHERE and should all be read before proceeding. Also.... this is a rope which you have to cut very thin and rub out for a smoke. If you smoke this around your wife, I hope you have divorce insurance.
Pipe Used: Newly purchased clay
Age When Smoked: Fresh from the internet.
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Jan 11, 2020 Medium to Strong None Detected Medium to Full Strong
I was able to grab a tin last year sometime. I use a cigar guillotine cutter to slice coins. Rub them out completely and dried to my desire. Puts out a very strong smell and taste, but nicotine is between mild and medium. The taste is strong like barbecue streak just off the coals. But is was still reminding of something from my pass. Than it hit me, Pot Seeds, back in the 70's when you use to smoke everything leaf, sticks, seed and it was horrible. This is somewhat similar but way better. But it just hit on that memory. It truly is a excellent blend and highly recommend.
Pipe Used: Stanwell
PurchasedFrom: Smokingpipes
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Reviewed By Date Rating Strength Flavoring Taste Room Note
Aug 14, 2019 Very Strong None Detected Full Strong
During the monthly meeting with OSLO Pipe Club, I was offered by a relative to bring some home to sample with the warning “this might blow your balls off!” Highly curious in nature, I highly anticipated the smoke I was to engulfs the coming morning.

Though a little too dry for my liking, it might have suited this tobacco well, though for it to stay lit, it needed a relight or two. The taste has a certain sweetness, but is prevalent with charred meat, barbecue, woods, and even some spiciness. With a full bodied smoke and this strong taste, I found it highly enjoyable.

Though the room note is strong, it is not unpleasant, and reminiscent of barbecuing meat, with my girlfriend wondering who was preparing kebab. It might not be the best tobacco I have had, but it is highly intriguing, and worth a try for anyone who can stomach it. Truly interesting and delightful.
Pipe Used: GL Lillehammer 10
Age When Smoked: Unknown
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